Dietary modification in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders: A systematic review


Schizophrenia spectrum disorders impact functioning, reduce quality of life and increase the risk of physical illness and premature mortality. Nutritional intervention studies aimed at decreasing body weight have demonstrated efficacy in improving metabolic outcomes; however, few studies have explored the impact of interventions designed to modify diet on mental health outcomes.


To synthesize the existing experimental studies of adjunctive diet modification as an intervention in the treatment of psychotic disorders, analyze findings related to effectiveness and safety, highlight knowledge gaps and limitations, and set forward recommendations for future research studies.


An extensive a priori search strategy was developed and the databases Embase, Embase Classic, Ovid MEDLINE were searched. Screening and data extraction were completed in duplicate. Studies included in this analysis were experimental studies of an adjunctive dietary intervention (overall dietary pattern or education on dietary change) for treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. No restrictions were placed on control groups or blinding. The studies were required to report a mental health outcome.


Twenty-five clinical trials were identified, along with two additional protocols and two meta-analyses. Nineteen of the clinical trials reported improvement in one or more mental health domain including psychosis symptoms, cognition, and quality of life. A high level of heterogeneity was found with respect to patient population, intervention, and study design. All of the studies included lifestyle or psychosocial components in addition to dietary modification. The nutrition advice provided to participants was poorly described overall and compliance was not assessed. The studies that showed benefit tended to have a smaller sample size and were less likely to be randomized but were more likely to use a group delivery intervention.


Further research assessing effectiveness and efficacy of clearly reported dietary interventions is warranted, especially those using rigorous methodology, modifying diet in isolation and assessing participant compliance.

DOI Link: doi: 10.5498/wjp.v10.i8.187


Title of abstract:
Dietary modification in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders: A systematic review

Monique Aucoin, Laura LaChance, Sam N Clouthier, Kieran Cooley


World Journal of Psychiatry


World J Psychiatr. Aug 19, 2020; 10(8): 187-201